Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Where'd the Texas heat go??

I've been thinking about it for several days and I've decided that I HATE getting up in the morning. Truly, fully despise it. As if it's not bad enough forcing my eyes open at the ungodly hour of 6:30am (I don't think that would ever be okay for my body, not even if I went to bed at 8--and I do go to bed by 10), it is now cold. So I have to drag myself from my nice warm bed and sleeping, snuggly baby girl just so I can change from my nice, warm, cozy pajamas into cold, not comfy work clothes. It's seriously the worst part of the day. And it sucks that the worst part of the day is the very first thing that happens every day. Though I suppose you could argue that from there "it could only get better!" (stinkin' happy morning people). One day last week I decided I'd take a shower to warm up. I had a grand scheme where I took all my clothes into the bathroom with me and turned on the water real hot so it'd steam up the whole bathroom and make it all warm and cozy, right??? WRONG! I spent 30 minutes huddling under the oh so nice and warm water while a thin stream of icy cold air slipped past a little wrinkle in the shower curtain, taunting me with me own lack of forethought (at 6:30 in the morning, remember. I never claimed to have great logic at 6:30 in the morning). I'm a Texas girl. I LIKE the heat. I don't even mind the humidity. And while everyone else dances around and talks about what a nice day it is and how they're so happy the high's are in the low 70's, I'm COLD. And when I ask for summer back, Josh cruelly reminds me that we haven't even finished *fall* yet, much less gotten through winter and spring. As Josh and I say.....I have woe.

SierraDragon, the Elmo Slayer

Another Halloween has come and gone. Sierra initially chose to be tigger, but had a pretty decent panic attack trying on the costume at the store (she has issues with putting things over her head), so she settled on a "dragon" costume (I think it's really supposed to be a dinosaur, but hey, whatever!). She then proceeded to bug me every single morning and afternoon (she thinks when she wakes up from a nap, it's a new day) about whether it was halloween yet. She was VERY happy when I told her this morning that, yes, she COULD wear her costume to school. She put it on, crawled on to the bed and growled at Sedona, who burst into tears and looked like she might actually have a heart attack from fright. Took Sierra a little bit to get over her shyness, but after she did, she started saying "can we trick or treat more?!?" after every single house. Here's the evidence:

Getting ready this morning (you're just gonna have to ignore the large pile of laundry, we both work, it was 7am and the kid's happy, which is the important thing ;-)

About to go trick or treating

Showing off her best dragon roar for the camera

Trick or treating on sorority row. You'll notice she has the same trick or treat basket as last year. It was cute then (she was dressed as elmo), but this year we were such excellent parents that we forgot she needed something to put candy in, so we decided we could claim that she was a particularly ferocious dragon and had slayed elmo.

one of the sororities went all out and had (among other activities) a cookie decorating station

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Riddle Me This

I think the stinkiest side effect of having a baby is the post partum block of time when you can't fit into your jeans. About once a week, I get out my jeans and try them on. My hips have finally gone back to normal and I can pull them up, but the baby belly's not totally gone, so they don't yet button. The jeans I've been trying on are size 7 Arizonas (please no "oh poor kim, you can't fit into a 7 three months post partum" comments....I don't mind being a size 8, the irksome part is that all of my decent work clothes are size 4, so they don't fit and I loathe spending money on clothes). Anyways, I accidently grabbed a different pair of jeans yesterday and they fit!! But they're size 5 Arizonas. How can a *smaller* size of the same brand fit?!? I pulled out the 7's again just to make sure, and they still don't button up. what the.....

And you know you've been appropriately indoctrinated into mom-hood when you get thrown up on twice in one morning (well, the toddler took her turn in the middle of the night, and Sedona really just spit up, but it was a copious amount and she never spits up) and don't once feel ill or grossed out yourself. How is it our own vomit is repulsive, but our children's is not really a big deal??

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Okay, just in case there's anyone else out there who doesn't get this....When you buy a house, there's something called the "closing". You sit down, sign ten million pieces of paper and the seller gets a (hopefully) fat check. And then that's IT. It's the closing. As in, closure. As in, I'm done dealing with you and jumping for joy that the ridiculous demands you tried to bring up at the eleventh hour are no longer my problem.

We sold our last house about 4 months ago. This week has been the first of cold night weather for us. Tonight, we get a call from the realtor. Apparently the people who bought our house have been bugging her this entire time for little things and she basically (though, in a much nicer way, I'm sure) tells them tough luck. Well, now they want to know if there is some trick to the heater or if it's hooked up or whatever. Here's another public service announcement....if you don't even know that turning on a gas heater requires more than just flipping the switch on the thermostat (like, the pilot maybe?!?) you probably should not buy a duplex where you are responsible not only for your own living space, but your renter's as well. I'm still having guilt twinges that we left our very nice, single mom, renter with a very obviously clueless landlord. I once had a shirt that said, "every day of my life I'm forced to add another name to the list of people who piss me off". My current line of work has forced me to develop MUCH better social skills as well as personal insight, but really, some people are just beyond help and some situations fall into the category of "not my problem". Since we have no interest what so ever in these people ending up with our phone number, Josh is going to find a random phone to call them from tomorrow and explain how to light the pilot on the heater (cause we're sure the renter has no heat either).

And in good news, we still have the cutest kids ever. I have come to the realization that Sedona is not a remarkably easy baby, I'm a different mom. If you have time, read the article And So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes. I totally believe every parent has to whole-heartedly believe in their chosen parenting style. I mean, sure, everyone has those moments of "aw, crap, I really shouldn't have said that", but you have to believe in the overall philosophy you follow because we all want to do the best we can by our kids and there's entirely too much guilt involved in thinking, "I should've done it ALL different". With that disclaimer behind me, I'm a HUGE proponent of what is commonly called "attachment parenting" and what in our situation might more acurately be called "back to nature parenting". For us, this includes: unmedicated birth, on cue breastfeeding, bed sharing, baby wearing, child-led weaning, no spanking, a willingness to admit fault if a parent screws up, giving the child choices where possible, and a slew of other things that are so much a part of my normal day I can't even think of them as something to point out. We had this basic frame work in mind when Sierra was born, but it was at a very basic understanding--we wanted to respond immediately when she cried and we wanted to breastfeed for a year. In hindsight, I realize it took us about 6 months (miraculously the time I can say Sierra was not quite a miserable baby anymore) to really get into the groove of baby wearing and nursing on cue. Before that time, I was spending a HUGE portion of the day "fighting" her. I would spend hours trying to put her down, then she'd cry, and I'd pick her up, and I'd be frustrated, and she'd cry. Sedona's been sooooo EASY. Hmmm....not so. Sedona's birth and first days of life were TOTALLY different, but beyond that, Sedona was nursed at the first peep (the difference it makes being a breastfeeding counselor before the child's born!! I spent a lot of "she can't be hungry again" time with Sierra and would've quit at about day 5 if Josh hadn't calmly said at 2am that no, I could breastfeed and it would work out and if I really needed a break we could put breastmilk in a bottle, but that was it), and Sedona was constantly held for the first 3 weeks (having a toddler to watch running around made me appreciate more how quickly that baby would grow up) and then introduced to the moby wrap and she has been worn since then. Whereas I "fought" Sierra to get her down for a nap, Sedona just snuggles up against momma's heartbeat (the most natural place in the world for her) and goes to sleep when she pleases. When we get home in the afternoon, she is happy to nap in her crib for 3 hours (most likely because she's had her fill of physical contact). If someone asked me, I would be at a total loss to tell them how many times a day or how long she naps. I'm already incapable of saying how often she wakes at night...I simply scoot her closer to me and let her nurse and we both fall asleep again, I have only a foggy idea of how many times that happens in a night. I didn't really realize that she is most likely NOT an "easier" baby until Saturday when I tried to do a batch cooking day while I was home alone with the girls. I tried to get Sedona to spend the morning (when she's usually at work with me and in the wrap) in her swing so I could cook and she fussed and cried and screamed and I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I finally put her in the wrap out of desperation and she almost immediately fell asleep (at which point she was happy to be put down in the crib). I know, some people might say she's spoiled or she's manipulated me. Oh well, they get to raise their babies their way, my way is right for my baby. She's so little and so precious and if she wants to cuddle with momma that's the least of my "troubles". Like Dr. Sears says, "babies don't spoil" I'll give her all the love and cuddles she wants while she wants them. I may have gotten a late start with Sierra, but we did eventually get to this parenting philosophy with her and ironically enough, it's made her all too independent. The theory is that the kiddos will learn they have a secure "home base" to return to and become more independent when they are ready for that. It's worked for Sierra. She stays close by while she warms up to a new situation and then she strikes out with hardly a look back. She comes back for cuddles every once in a while, but sometimes I look at my big kid and wish she still wanted to snuggle with me for hours at a time. My only regret is that I didn't know to do this with Sierra from day 1. I missed the newborn time with her and I didn't appreciate it while it was there and now I'll never get it back. I appreciate my "easy" baby though and I'm thankful for the skills I've learned that let me spend my days with her head nestled against my chest instead of feeling anger rise in me while I listen to a baby cry. Back to that song I posted at Sierra's birthday..."let them be little"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Quote of the day

This is from The Omnivore's Dilemma, but I think it extrapolates quite well to childbirth and breastfeeding issues as well:
The problem is that once science has reduced a complex phenomenon to a couple of variables, however important they may be, the natural tendency is to overlook everything else, to assume that what you can measure is all there is, or at least all that really matters. When we mistake what we can know for all there is to know, a healthy appreciation of one's ignorance in the face of a mystery like soil fertility [or bringing forth a new life, or nourishing a new life] gives way to the hubris that we can treat nature as a machine.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm melting!!!

Okay, I know, weird title, but anyways. This picture just has to make your heart melt. This was Sedona's very first "giggle fit" I'm not sure what was so funny, but she really got going. Isn't it just the cutest picture ever??? Well, except for Sierra's smiley baby pictures, but we know the girls are really twins, so they can both be the cutest ever ;-)

And here's Sierra and her cousin Aiden going for a ride. They have the same birthday, Aiden is 2 years older.

And in super good news, I got my packet from the examining board today. Not only did I pass the exam, I got a 90%!!!!! They won't release the statistics for this exam for quite a while, but I found the stats from 2003 (can't find last years for some reason), and very few people (like 30 out of 2100) get a 90 or above.

Friday, October 19, 2007

City Homesteading

I've decided there's no sense in waiting for "someday" to be homesteaders. Remember those books, Better Off and The Omnivore's Dilemma? They got us thinking about being as self sufficient as possible when it comes to food. Since we got a late start for a fall garden, we're limited in what we can put in, but we figured we'd put our past record of successfully growing strawberries to work for us. The result was this giant raised garden bed:

It's in an octagon shape. The outside edges are 12 feet long. The outside edges of the inner octagon are 6 feet long (the inner rings are 9 feet/side and 3 feet/side, respectively). This genius idea (it wasn't ours) allows us to set a sprinkler in the middle of the whole thing and water without standing there the whole time or keeping up many many feet of drip line. This whole bed adds up to 435 square feet of space and is currently planted with 350 strawberry plants.

These are our smaller beds:

They're 6 feet on the outside edges and there are two of them for a grand total of almost 700 square feet of growing space. Not counting the 10 fruit trees that went in this week and will hopefully be producing well in a few years.

And in other news, Sierra *really* enjoys yogurt.


The IBLCE posted exam results this morning (just pass/fail, the official notification, including scores, get mailed today) and I passed the exam! That means I am now an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). The pathway I followed to take the exam required me to:

Have a bachelor's degree; take background courses in sociology, psychology, human anatomy and physiology, nutrition, child development and medical terminology; spend over 2000 hours counseling families about breastfeeding issues (over 1250 of which had to be one on one sessions); and accumulate over 150 hours of continuing education specific to lactation

Once I could document all that, I was approved by the examining board to sit the exam. Unfortunately the exam is only offered once a year and this year I happened to have a baby 10 days before the exam! We all traveled to Houston, where they set up a separate room for my family to stay in and a proctor came with me every time I had to nurse to be sure I wasn't looking at notes or talking about anything breastfeeding related. While the test didn't seem terribly scary to me, I have been a tad concerned that perhaps mommy brain made me answer the questions in the wrong place on the answer sheet or something else that would've made me fail.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Shout out to Caris

Just a quick shout out to Caris. We know your birthday was 11 days ago and we have been big slackers about it. We do love you and a gift is on the way, we promise!

My Brain's Tired

A short over-view of our trash set up: We have a white trashcan for trash, and three green trashcans for recycling. The plastic and metal bin have white trashbags in them. Now, most guests we have over don't get the recycling set up and that's fine, we don't sweat it. But since Sierra lives here, we're trying to get through to her that all the bins are different (mainly so I can quit digging used kleenex out of the plastics recycling bin). So tonight she goes to throw away something and she's headed for the recycling again. This conversation follows:
Sierra: This one?
Josh: No, the trashcan
S (nodding her head): yes, this one
J: No, the white one
S: [Just looks at the green recycling bin with the white trashbag with a puzzled look on her face]
Kim: The one with the lid on it
S (looking at the trash can): oh, this one?
J: Yes, that one
S: Oh, okay (proceeds to throw away her trash)
S (while walking back to us): That made my brain tired

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I appreciate a company with a fast response time. I'm impressed by an owner that can convince his employees to work in an efficient manner. But really, I would have preferred I had not been told 400 strawberry plants and various fruit trees would be delivered next week if they were really just going to show up on my door step at 8pm tonight :-p This causes a tad bit of a problem....we don't have anywhere to plant the strawberries yet!! The plan for saturday was to prepare that space. The strawberries shouldn't really wait to get planted though, they need to go in the ground ASAP, so instead of a leisurely family saturday working outside, the strawberry plants are in the fridge and Josh will be staying home from work tomorrow to get us well on the road to getting them taken care of.

The only other news around here is Sierra's continued insistence that she is losing her teeth (because her Kindergarten-aged friend at school is starting to lose hers), and lots and lots of talking about the scraped knee she sustained at school on Friday. Unfortunately, she apparently doesn't remember *how* it happened. All I can get out of her is an (oft repeated) account of lots and lots of bleeding, getting a bandaid and then, "it not hurt anymore!!" It's really a teeny scrape and I suspect she was running on the porch again (which I've personally witnessed her teacher warn her about multiple times, but she still does it every single day when I get there). Oh, and we got locked out of one of the rooms in our house. When you buy an old house with various locks that you have no keys to, you should go ahead and change those. We spent two days trying to "break in" before we gave up and took a hammer to the door knob.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cash crops, books and more skillz

Sedona was practicing her skills again last night. It really leaves me torn between "please just go to sleep!" and "how cute are you?!?" She continues to lay on the chunk. Actually, her growth has slowed down a lot and I think her body has finally realized we are not in a famine and she does not need to despeartely cling to every calorie that comes her way. She's somewhere around 14 pounds now. She's still quite short though, so she looks super chubby. I think her fingers may just disappear into the fat folds of her hands one day. I've also discovered she has a roll of fat behind her knee. No joke, there's a thigh, and a calf, and this extra roll in between. When I bathe her I have to dig out not only the usual baby toe jam, finger jam and neck jam, but also elbow and knee jam.

Been reading some interesting books lately. Usually I just add them to my book list, but these have been quite applicable to our lives. Josh has read them too and we've been brainstorming ideas. The first one is Better Off by Eric Brende. Good account of a guy and his wife who go to live with what he calls a minimite (not amish or mennonite, but a lot of the same lifestyle choices) community. They even ended up with a homebirth while they were there. It's given us some ideas on things we can do now to live more simply. The other book (we're both in the middle of it) is The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It's been really good so far. It's a little depressing because we have discovered Sedona has a sensitivity to corn, so I've been avoiding as much corn and corn syrup as I can (we're really hoping she outgrows this!) and we've learned there's corn in just about everything. Reading this book has pointed out a lot of things we didn't know though...for instance, the wax coating they put on apples, etc... at the store is corn based. Also, I knew about government subsidies for growing corn, but I didn't realize that there was a different, better program to help out the farmers prior to that. Lots of good information that is just reaffirming our goal of growing as much of our own food as possible and moving more towards a whole foods diet.

And speaking of food...we have our fall garden planted. When we moved here, we put in more gardening space than we had at the old house, plus we have room for lots more. We've planted broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprout transplants (18 of each), 9 cabbage plants, and started seed of LOTS of carrots (4 different types) a mix of salad greens, beets, several types of onion, sugar snap peas and snow peas. We've also put in fruit trees recently. It will take a few years to get much off of them, but it's been something we've wanted to do for a long time and been studying up on. We ended up with a methley plum, bruce plum, mollie delicious apple, fuji apple, granny smith apple, two types of peach, ayers pear, orient pear and brown turkey fig. And we've put in a large order for strawberry plants that should arrive next week. Chandler and Sequoia strawberries--200 plants of each. We've been successful with strawberries in the past and apparently a lot of people have problems with them, so they don't show up in great quantities in the farmer's markets. A good yield would be about 3/4 pound per plant (300 pounds total), which we're planning to sell at the farmer's market in the spring.

Monday, October 15, 2007

More Birthday Pictures

Sedona in the process of wrapping pa-paw around her little finger. I think I heard something about "hey, I heard you carry candy in your shirt pocket..."

Sierra blowing out the candle on her cake

Holly and Sierra enjoying the new playset

Grandma cuddles

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mad Skillz

I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but I cannot stress enough how quickly the second baby grows. It goes WAY too fast when you can't concentrate on them all day. Today was (I'm pretty sure) my first time to really spend the whole day alone with Sedona. She was born during Sierra's break from school and I went back to work the same day Sierra started school. I wasted all that baby time with Sierra frustrated and wanting her to grow up (granted, she was a MUCH happier baby once she was mobile), and now I really just want to be in a quiet house alone with Sedona and never get the chance. So....we spent a good part of the day cuddling and playing. This is how big she's getting:

She still refuses to smile for the camera. She'll be really hamming it up and as soon as I get the camera out, she scrunches up her eyebrows and looks at me like, "what is that thing?? I just wanna talk to my momma". And at 2am last night (okay, I don't really know what time it was b/c it's sacrilege in this house to look at the clock in the middle of the night--just makes you more tired) she decided to practice her new skillz. She would push herself up on her hands, flash the biggest grin in the world as if to say, "how cool am I?!?" and then FLING her head to the side so she'd roll over. Then she'd kick and fuss b/c she can't roll back to front yet. Repeat, repeat, repeat. I'm glad she's found a good use for her big noggin, but really...must we practice while the rest of the house is trying sleep? ;-)


Hello, my name is Kimberly and I'm a quiltaholic.

Okay, seriously. Never made a quilt in my life, but a friend gave me a bunch of fabric and a lot of it was scraps, so I figured, hey, maybe I'll make my grandmother a scrap quilt for Christmas. A lot of the scraps were already cut into squares, so I planned to just sew the squares together and there ya go. But I've never quilted, so first I did some internet research. I came across directions for making piece-work easier and free patterns and all that stuff, so I decided to try one of the patterns that was specifically intended for scraps. This was the result:

I realize they're not perfect, but pretty good for my very first block, I thought. I decided to go looking for another pattern, but ended up just playing with the fabric and came up with this on my own:

Again, I know it's not perfect or super original, but pretty good for my first no-pattern block! Then I was playing around with the fabric again and came up with this:

Yes, it's gonna be "scrappy quilt" to the extreme, but then that's kinda the point---use up the scraps and learn technique at the same time. I'm pretty sure my grandmother will get a kick out of it even if it's the ugliest quilt known to man LOL

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Let Them Be Little

There's a great country song called, "Let Them Be Little". The chorus goes:

Let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little

And oh how true it is. Somehow I blinked and 3 years went by. The precious little baby I brought home from the hospital just yesterday is now running, jumping, laughing, playing board and card games, holding entire conversations and just generally being all grown up. I'm lucky that she still likes to cuddle but there's all too much "I do it myself!" when I want to play with her. Sierra's birthday is still a couple of days away, but we had her "party" today. A few pictures...

In the midst of diving into the cake.

Her BIG present. Momma, Daddy, Grandma and Pa-paw all shared the cost and it's counting for Birthday and Christmas. Took two full days to put the monstrosity together and we managed to keep it a secret the whole time!!

Going down her slide

Swinging with momma

Sedona giving Aunt Brandie a good dose of baby fever.

And along that whole "they grow up too fast" line....Sedona rolled over for the first time yesterday. My newborn's already gone!!!!! :-( She also smiles *and* laughs now. Where did time go? I feel like I'm cuddling with Sedona 90% of the day/night and it's still not enough!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Home Again, Home Again

Another trip down, one to go. It's about 500 miles from Bryan/College Station to Amarillo, and we drove...with two kids under 3. It should've been about an 8 hour trip, but it was 10-11 for us. We are all very very happy to be out of the car. And we have learned that our cloth diaper stash will last us exactly 5 days and not a minute more. Our cloth baby wipes didn't make it, we had to switch to disposable ones on the trip home.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

May I Be Excused? My Brain's Full.

Anyone remember that old Far Side comic of the kid asking to get out of class? Yeah, brain's full. I spent the last three days at the Hale/Hartmann conference. There was an incredible amount of new research presented--most of which made great sense and a little bit of which was slightly flawed. I came to a realization while I was there...research is what I want to do. My heart really does belong in science. The problem is that when I graduated from college I took whatever micro- or molecular biology job came along without factoring in the importance of being passionate about what I was researching. And, well, doing someone else's research just isn't much fun. Lactation research though, I could TOTALLY get into. Of course, the problem comes in when you look at the whole picture. We all know scientists are (in general) not rich people. Financially, the best course of action would be to get a Masters of Science in Nursing and take on a hospital job in the maternity or NICU ward. So it kinda comes down to weighing the pros and cons---money with a rewarding job, or no money with a super fun job. That and the fact that the best human lactation research lab in the world (that I know of) is in Australia. I don't know of anyone in the US that practices human lactation research in the way I think of it (I'm not real interested in crunching stats of who does what and why, I want to look at the real nitty gritty of what is happening anatomically and physiologically when a mom and baby breastfeed). What to do, what to do?

note: I'm just assuming here that I have passed the exam and will be an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, which I won't really know until October 19 :-p
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